I’ve now a firm date for the launch of Out of Breath.

It’s Tuesday, March 25th, at Waterstones, Orchard Square, Sheffield. The event starts at 6.30 and will finish a little after 8.00.

As well as me reading from the new collection (that phrase still seems strange, almost a hostage to fortune) I’ve asked a some of our brilliant local poets and friends to help me out, reading from their own work as well as mine. At the moment, Sally Goldsmith and Suzannah Evans are firm bookings. There’ll be at least one other voice.

If you know me, you’ll probably be inundated with invitations to this event. My first collection! Seems impossible.

I’m looking at my diary for the year to come. It’s an exciting year for me.

Early in March I read with the Writing School of The Poetry Business at The Wordsworth Trust’s Jerwood Centre, their wonderful museum next to Dove Cottage at Grasmere. That’s Sunday March 2nd, 2.30.  See HERE 

It’s a free event, so you should come along if you can to hear a great variety of UK poets, namely Jim Caruth, Jennifer Copley, Lydia Harris, Fokkina McDonnell, Jane McKie, Kim Moore, Alan Payne, Paul Stephenson, Pam Thompson, Liz Venn, Noel Williams, David Wilson, Gina Wilson and River Wolton.

Jennifer has recently published Sisters, which will be reviewed in the next Orbis. River published her collection Indoor Skydiving  which I hope to review myself at some point. Both are great books. Kim’s If We Could Speak Like Wolves was one of the most interesting pamphlets published last year, reviewed in the TLS no less. Kim also has one of the liveliest poetry blogs in the UK. Gina, Alan and Jim also have really good pamphlets, though published a couple of years ago now. Gina’s Paper, Scissors, Stone  is quite quirky and very clever. Alan has a particularly good line in the terse personal lyric, as shown in his pamphlet: Exploring the Orinoco. Jim’s Marking the Lambs is full of his soft, compassionate, gentle voice. (You can find my Antiphon review of it here).

Unfortunately my own Out of Breath is unlikely to be around as early as March 2nd. The official launch is planned for Tuesday 25th March at the the welcoming branch of Waterstones in Sheffield’s Orchard Square, who always put on excellent book launches. Starts at 6.30. I’ll make a proper announcement when there’s a publicity sheet to send out.

Antiphon Issue #8 is now up and running. You can find it here.

It’s looking good, I think. There’s more in the Interval section (reviews and articles) than ever before, but it’s the poetry that’s most important, and that also remains excellent.

issue 8 cover

Alongside “Exploding Poetry” Bank St is running some readings. Last week I organised a reading for students of the MA Writing from Hallam University. It went very well. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and the readings themselves were absolutely excellent.

Next week there are two readings: George Szirtes on the 4th, and on Friday the 5th, the Tuesday Poets, the writing group I belong to. There’ll be nine of us, as Seni Seneviratne is at an international poetry workshop in Egypt. If you don’t know the group, we are: Jenny Hockey, Margaret Lewis, Beverley Nadin, Cora Greenhill, Sally Goldsmith, Fay Musselwhite, Lisa Wallace, Val Binney, Noel Williams and Seni Seneviratne.

In Sheffield’s Off the Shelf 2009 our audience filled the Fusion Café. We had to turn away thirty more people. Forge Today reviewed that evening as: “a unique insight into human experience, becoming more than an evening of poetry readings but in many ways a fully formed living anthology”.  Between us we have four collections, two pamphlets, one CD, one shortlist for an Eric Gregory award, around 20 competition successes, publication in more than 60 magazines and several poems on Radio 4.

6.15 to 8.00: Friday 5th March

At: Bank Street Arts Centre

Admission Free

There’ll be some familiar works, but many new ones.

The Tuesday Poets had their first public outing on the 30th, and now have their first review, at: http://www.forgetoday.com/page1084/Review-Friday-Nightwith-The-Tuesday-Poets

It’s a really positive review, which is great for all of us, though it would’ve been nice if all the poets could’ve had a mention: every set was a strong one, so to single out any of us seems a little unfair. Nevertheless, I’m really pleased.

On Friday the Tuesday Poets gav etheir first public reading as a group. We had:

Jenny Hockey

Margaret Lewis  

Beverley Nadin

Cora Greenhill

Sally Goldsmith

Fay Musselwhite

Lisa Wallace

Val Binney

Seni Seneviratne

me

We held it at the Fusion Cafe on Arundel Street Sheffield, which has just won an award for the best Cafe in Sheffield (which I’d confidently agree with). It was a spectacularly successful night, combining really lovely food with some marvellous poetry from everyone, including also two moving songs, from Sally and Seni.

Everyone seemed to have a good time. Even Melvyn and his staff running the place seemed to get some pleasure out of our work, and we felt we really felt we’d done a good job.

There’s no telling if we’ll do it again – but I hope we do. We had to disappoint over 30 people this time who couldn’t get tickets, so that in itself suggests we need a repeat performance.